NBA Finals 2012: Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers Comes Up Clutch in Game 4

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NBA Finals 2012: Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers Comes Up Clutch in Game 4
Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh get all of the attention on and off the court for the Miami Heat, and that trend has continued throughout the 2012 NBA Finals.

Until now, that is. In a brilliant Game 4 performance, Mario Chalmers registered 25 points on 9-for-14 shooting to help pull Miami within one game of the 2012 NBA championship.

The starting point guard for the Heat scored 12 crucial fourth-quarter points, coming up big when James missed the final minutes of the game with leg cramps.

"Mario Chalmers is a winner,'' Wade told the Associated Press. ''He's due for a big game and he came through for us.''

Chalmers being "due" was in reference to his horrendous start to the NBA Finals. He shot 7-for-22 for only 17 total points through the first three meetings with the Oklahoma City Thunder

Despite starting slow in the first quarter of Game 4, Chalmers had 13 points in the following two periods to help the Heat fight back from an early deficit.

In the final period, he really turned it on. Chalmers knifed a driving layup between Nick Collison and James Harden to make it 82-79 with less than 10 minutes to play. On the very next Heat possession, Chalmers nailed an open three to make it a six-point game.

After Russell Westbrook answered on the other end, Chalmers managed to knock down a pull-up jumper—his third straight basket for Miami. 

To cap off his amazing night, Chalmers iced the Miami victory in the final minute with a clutch layup and three crucial free throws. 

Outside of Westbrook—who tallied 43 points, seven rebounds, five assists—Chalmers was arguably the most impressive player on the court for either team. He came up with big shots down the stretch, and outperformed every member of Miami's Big Three in the final period. 

Many defenses like to key in on Wade and James, but Chalmers is the type of offensive player who can make teams pay for double-teams, especially when he gets hot. 

The fourth-year point guard from Kansas can slash to the hole, shoot from distance and drain free throws. During the regular season, Chalmers had 17 games where he scored 15 or more points. Not bad for a fourth option.

This is the same Chalmers who made that game-tying three at the buzzer during the 2008 NCAA men's basketball finals. 

Mario Chalmers is a winner, and his clutch play in Game 4 will be remembered for years to come. 

 

Bob Bajek on Twitter.

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